Home > News > Nation
Thursday October 24, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday October 24, 2013 MYT 10:57:31 AM
Aftermath: Bertam Valley villagers inspecting the damage outside their homes.
CAMERON HIGHLANDS: The sound of sirens, warning that water is being released from the dam into Sungai Bertam, is nothing unusual for villagers at Bertam Valley.
So, they continued to sleep when the siren went off before 1am yesterday.
“We were caught off-guard,” said village head Wong Fook Chai.
Wong, like other villagers, heard the siren about 15 to 20 minutes before the floods devastated the village.
“How were we supposed to know? Usually the water release does not overflow the banks of the river,” he said.
Wong was not sure whether over-development or farming upstream of the dam contributed to the floods.
“There are many vegetable farms upstream but I cannot be certain they are the cause,” he said.
He himself felt that those responsible for the dam should be held accountable for releasing so much water.
He recalled that it rained non-stop from about 7pm on Tuesday before the flooding occurred.
“We never imagined the chaos that was to come,” he said.
PKR’s Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang said residents told him that the siren went off in the middle of a rainstorm, drowning out the blare.
“The rain was very heavy and it happened in the middle of the night. A lot of these people are farmers and they sleep very early,” he said.
He said in the past, villagers were notified of dam releases well before they happened, adding that this time, they were not.
“They were caught unaware,” he said, and called for an independent committee to investigate how the floods happened.
Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands president R. Ramakrishnan said Tenaga Nasional had given ample warning for those in the area to evacuate.
“They blasted the siren for half an hour before releasing water from the dam,” he said, adding that he did not know why some people there did not heed the warning.
Tags / Keywords:
Environment, cameron highlands
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)